Mazda has lifted the lid on the new hard-top MX-5 Retractable Fastback, the successor to the previous NC-generation MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top but with a significant stylistic twist.
Rather than being a hard-roofed version of the Mazda MX-5 soft top, the Retractable Fastback sports a unique silhouette thanks to the extended buttresses that stretch, Testarossa-like, around the bootlid.
Roof closed, it has the profile of a conventional fastback coupe (albeit with false quarter windows). Lower it, and only the top panels are stowed. The buttresses return to their position and the MX-5 RF becomes a targa-roofed convertible.
The rear glass also retracts when the roof is lowered, ensuring the MX-5 RF continues to provide a wind-in-your-hair experience when the top is down and allowing the driver to "fully enjoy the pleasing exhaust note coming from the rear".
A 4.6-inch colour LCD display also finds its way into the instrument panel, and features an animated display of the roof when it's being retracted or raised.
The only dimensional change over the soft top is in overall height, which is 5mm taller in the Retractable Fastback.
Boot space is identical to the soft-top even when the roof is stowed, and the roof can be operated at speeds up to 10km/h. There's more sound-deadening material in the roof panels and around the wheelarches too, giving the MX-5 RF greater refinement than its soft-top sibling.
The MX-5 Retractable Fastback will be available overseas with both the entry-level 96kW 1.5 litre and the 118kW 2.0 litre engines, as well as a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
In Australia, it'll be sold exclusively with the 118kW/200Nm 2.0 litre SkyActiv motor. Manual and automatic variants will be offered.
The suspension and electric power steering have been tuned specifically for the MX-5 Retractable Fastback, giving it a different flavour behind the wheel. The retracable roof presumably adds a bit of heft to the MX-5's frame, but Mazda isn't mentioning precisely how much just yet.
Mazda Australia told TMR we can expect to see the MX-5 Retractable Fastback hit local showrooms in early 2017, however a specific launch date - as well as pricing and specifications - have yet to be announced.